London: The UK government will remove all remaining Covid restrictions on international travel for all passengers from Friday March 18 onwards, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced.
From 4 a.m. on coming Friday, all Covid-19 travel restrictions will be lifted, including the passenger locator form for arrivals into the UK, as well as all tests for passengers who do not qualify as vaccinated, reports Xinhua news agency.
Therefore, holidaymakers will be able to enter the UK without any restrictions for the first time since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.
Currently, only fully vaccinated people can enter the country without the need for tests. But they must fill out a passenger locator form within 72 hours of travel.
Karen Dee, Chief Executive of Airport Operators Association, welcomed the announcement, saying that “a return to restriction-free travel is good news for passengers and should allow for aviation to take significant steps towards recovery”.
The move comes as coronavirus infections are rising in all four UK regions for the first time since the end of January, with Scotland already reporting record-high infection data, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics.
Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at Kings College London, told Sky News: “It is disappointing that as we hit record levels of Covid, Grant Shapps is saying it’s safe.”
Official figures showed the UK added 444,201 Covid-19 cases and 726 deaths over the last seven days.
As of Tuesday, the country’s total caseload stood at 19,845,016, with 163,545 deaths.
More than 91 per cent of people aged 12 and above have received their first dose of vaccine, while over 85 per cent were double jabbed and some 67 per cent got booster shots.